That wasn’t my only experience with alarms last night though. About fifteen minutes after I got home, our phone rang. There is pretty much only one reason our phone ever rings at that hour. An alarm was going off at work. I listened as the security company explained to me the series of alarms that had occurred. It’s always hard to diagnose such things long distance but, in my gut, I always know better than to ignore alarms. “Send the police in,” I said. “I’ll meet them there in a few minutes.”
Now, it was stormy here last night and it is not unusual to have the alarm go off when it is stormy. But what they described to me did not sound typical of a false alarm.
The police met me at the plant and told me they’d checked all the doors and everything seemed fine. I told them they could leave and I went on inside to try to re-set the alarm system. Turns out it wouldn’t re-set. Something had gone wrong with it. In the meanwhile, the alarm company also called home again to tell me about things. (I really need to give them my cell phone number.)
Anyway, it got me to thinking about alarms. I don’t like to ignore alarms when they go off at work but how often do I ignore alarms going off in my spiritual life? Alarms happen for a reason … to alert us and hopefully guide us to a corrected course of action. What are the spiritual alarms that hit home with you? Here are a few of mine …
1) Not reading and studying the Bible enough. I will go through periods where I do well on this but then, a skipped day here or there, and suddenly I am skipping every day. I need to recognize that as an alarm. When I am not reading and studying, I fill that time with other things, that usually being work. And working too much leads to burnout and frustration … things that without my personal Bible study I have no way to combat, making the situation even worse.
2) Complaining about other people. At the root of things, if I am complaining about another person, it is usually to make myself look better or feel better. Somehow by putting them down, I boost myself up. That is wrong on so many levels but at the core I believe it is an indication that I have forgotten whose I am. Because I have forgotten that my worth comes from God and not from my fellow man, I am trying to jumpstart my self worth through pridefulness. Not good. Doing so is an alarm that things are not right.
3) Being sad. Now, I am not at all a fan of Christians who put on an artificial happy Joy-in-the-Lord attitude. Fact is, in life, we go through tough times and tough times can bring sadness. Fact is, there can also be clinical reasons for sadness. I am not talking about that. I am talking about times when I just refuse to see God in the world around me and in my life. Times when I focus on the past instead of looking forward and realizing that God does have a plan and He does make things work for good. Again, that sort of sadness for no reason is an alarm for me about my spiritual life.
Like the alarm on Adrian’s plane and the alarms that go off at work in the middle of the night … these are not alarms to be ignored … though I often try to. What are your spiritual alarms?